No longer good enough to be a police officer, but fine to be a lawyer

Fort Lauderdale Police Department

Fort Lauderdale Police Department

By Dan Christensen,

Daniel M. Zavadil no longer carries a badge. The Fort Lauderdale Police Department fired him last fall after he admitted to signing someone else’s name on an official document.

Zavadil lost his job after authorities concluded he was unfit to serve as a city police officer because of a “lack of integrity and poor judgment.”

But he’s still good enough to be a Florida lawyer.

The Florida Bar identifies Zavadil as a “member in good standing” on its public website. It lists Zavadil’s 10-year discipline history as “none.”

Officer Zavadil was admitted to the practice of law on May 4 while relieved of duty with pay and under investigation by police internal affairs. He was dismissed by the city in November for falsifying a defendant’s signature and conduct unbecoming a police officer.

Zavadil is appealing.

The Florida Board of Bar Examiners screens aspiring lawyers for good moral character “to protect the public and safeguard the judicial system.”

Once they’re admitted to the Bar, rules established by the Florida Supreme Court prohibit attorneys from conduct involving “dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.”

But no rule requires lawyers to disclose findings of such misconduct to the Bar.

“If you are a member of the bar and have an adverse employment action there is no obligation to report yourself to the Bar,” said Arne Vanstrum, who oversees complaints about lawyers as director of the Bar’s central intake program in Tallahassee.

Even if the Bar becomes aware of fraud or dishonesty by a lawyer, it typically won’t investigate unless prodded.

“Somebody would have to file a sworn complaint,” Vanstrum said.

That lack of regulatory initiative is a disservice to the public, and damaging to the legal profession, according to Broward Public Defender Howard Finkelstein.

“That doesn’t seem to be a very effective way of running the system because it says it’s okay to be a liar or a cheat or a fraud, as long as nobody complains,” he said. “It is an embarrassment.”

Zavadil, a Fort Lauderdale cop for four years, contends he was forced out of the department in retaliation for a lawsuit he brought against the city early last year alleging a hostile workplace environment.

“The defamatory allegations against me are untrue and based in a wild, reckless, rush to judgment,” Zavadil said.

Daniel Zavadil

Daniel Zavadil

Zavadil got into trouble last March after handing a notice to appear in court to Daniel Roberts for violating the city’s panhandling ordinance. The violation allegedly occurred at the intersection of Federal Highway and Southeast 17th Street.

Zavadil had Roberts to put his inked thumbprint on the notice, but did not have him sign it. A signature on a notice to appear is an agreement to show up in court to answer the charge.

When Zavadil submitted the notice and offense report back at headquarters a supervisor noticed the signature was missing and kicked it back to him.

A few days later, Zavadil submitted the documents again. This time, the notice had a signature.

Sgt. Steven Greenlaw questioned Zavadil about the signature. Zavadil admitted he signed the notice, police records say.

[Greenlaw has his own troubles. Last month, he was suspended with pay amid an internal investigation into possible policy violations regarding his off-duty security work for imprisoned attorney/con man Scott Rothstein.]

Records say Zavadil, an assistant general counsel for the National Rifle Association in Virginia in the early 2000s who now lives in Weston, later told investigators he signed the notice after he was unable to locate Roberts. He explained he considered the signature a formality because of the thumbprint, but police officials up the chain of command disagreed.

“Your contention…is without merit,” Police Chief Frank Adderly wrote in an Oct. 27 termination letter to Zavadil. “If you believed this, it would have negated the reason for your claimed subsequent search for the defendant and your justification for falsifying the defendant’s signature after the report was returned to you.

“A genuine fingerprint on the rear of a notice to appear does not constitute a defendant’s acceptance of the document and agreement to appear in court.”

[Adderly also has Rothstein troubles. The Sun-Sentinel reported last week that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating Adderly’s role in a police car crash probe last summer involving a mutual friend of Rothstein and the chief. The city’s Office of Professional Standards cleared the chief of impropriety in the matter last week.]

City police forwarded the case against Zavadil to Broward prosecutors to review for a possible forgery prosecution. Assistant State Attorney Timothy Donnelly declined saying there was “insufficient evidence” of intent to injure defendant Roberts, and “little likelihood of conviction.”

Roberts was never prosecuted because the notice to appear and the panhandling charge were never processed, authorities said.

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  • FYI Ofc. Zavadil never admitted to signing the Defendant’s signature. The Defendant (Daniel Roberts) did in fact personnally sign the NTA at the time of the arrest. Defendant Daniel Roberts acknowledged receiving the NTA and readily acknowledge that he was impaired at the time of the arrest, and did in fact sign the NTA with a legally recognized thumbprint signature. There is a long line of legal authority from around the nation which clearly supports the fact there was no criminal wrongdoing or falsification by Ofc. Zavadil. Any allegations to the contrary are without legal and factual merit and simply defamatory spin put on the matter by FLPD Internal Affairs, the Media or Howard Finkelstein, for political purposes.

    I refer you to C.J.S. on signatures:

    A[i]n the absence of a statute requiring otherwise, who writes the name accompanying the mark is immaterial and a signature mark may be sufficient, notwithstanding the fact the name accompanying the mark is written incorrectly, the wrong name is written, no name accompanying the mark is affixed, or words indicating that the mark is intended as such are omitted.@ 80 C.J.S. Signatures ’10.

  • “Informed” doesn’t know what he is talking about. Zavadil did in fact admit to his supervisor that he signed the NTA. This was a pan-handling case and had nothing to do with being impaired. The thumb print was put on there by the accused for purposes of establishing identity. The signature is required to secure a promise from the accused that he or she will appear in court. Zavadil simply chose a shortcut because he forgot to get a signature at the scene. Zavadil’s IA files are full of other examples that make be sick to my stomach that he’s really a member of the Florida Bar. I’ll bet money that “Informed” is really Zavadil, since that CJS crap was his defense with IA and it didn’t work then and it won’t work on appeal.

  • You mention ..” but good enough to be a Florida Lawyer”. The Florida Bar and it’s lead Racketeers on the Board of Governors is a CRIMINAL Organization. FACT. No other argument. In my direct experience, you must be the real slim shady to be considered for the Bar. The BAR is in HUGE trouble. READ ” Lawmen google groups Hurt Thompson” via a google search. Look at all 8 or 10 articles about the Fla Bar, The Supremes, John Thompson going back to Nov. 2009. You will be shocked and enlightened. The FBI will take them down ! They are Criminal Lawyers !! Mr. Desgusted (with the Bar)

  • ‘Informed’ uses typical Cop Logic. He knows what’s best and he’s going to do it, and those little details called rights that keep getting in the way, He’ll tell you what your rights are. Just do what he says and nobody’s gonna get hurt.

  • The previous post is just more evidence that you should not believe everything you read. If poster “Really Informed,” truely knew what he was talking about he would know, that Internal Affairs lied to Ofc. Zavadil on the record and refused to allow him to present any sort of valid defense, including his desire to present a brief in his defense citing a long line of case law supporting his position. If you doubt that simply read the IA transcript.

    If poster “Really Informed,” was in fact an insider that truely knew what he was talking about he would know that Ofc. Zavadil has yet to be provide a valid due process hearing before a neutral party that included being adequately advised of the charges against him and being privided the ability to present any defense to the false accusations against him. (A hearing which is a well established Constitutional Requirement.) That’s right, the City wrongfully discharged Ofc. Zavadil before he was even provided a hearing before a neutral party where he had an adequate opportunity to present a defense. And as of this date he has yet to be provide any post deprivation hearing which comports with Constitutional Requirements. I guess I can assume that “Really Informed” also believes that well established Constitutional Rights like well established case law and treatise are also just “crap.”

    It is obvious that “Really Informed” has no respect for, nor is he at all educated in the law. For anyone that was halfway educated– would know a thumb print can be a signature. If you doubt that you can look up the definition. See some common dictionary definitions of “signatures” attached below:

    Barron’s Law Dictionary, Second Edition, By Steven H. Gifis, p. 444 defines “SIGNATURE” as “a writing or other mark that is placed upon an instrument for the purpose of authenticating it or giving it legal effect. Statutes define signature differently in different contexts, such as in corporate documents, wills, books, etc. For instance, under the Uniform Commercial Code, a signature is made by use of any name, including a trade or assumed name, upon an instrument, or by any word or mark used in lieu of a written signature. UCC 3-401(2)”

    Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary [ signature] defines sig•na•ture :
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle French or Medieval Latin; Middle French, from Medieval Latin signatura, from Latin signatus, past participle of signare to sign, seal
    Date: 1536
    1 a: the act of signing one’s name to something b: the name of a person written with his or her own hand
    2: a feature in the appearance or qualities of a natural object formerly held to indicate its utility in medicine
    3 a: a letter or figure placed usually at the bottom of the first page on each sheet of printed pages (as of a book) as a direction to the binder in arranging and gathering the sheets b: one unit of a book comprising a group of printed sheets that are folded and stitched together
    5: the part of a medical prescription that contains the directions to the patient
    6: something (as a tune, style, or logo) that serves to set apart or identify ; also : a characteristic mark

  • Commissioner Bruce Roberts Ex-Chief of Fort Lauderdale Police Department this is the legacy that you built and allowed to grow while you were at the helm, it has festered the boil has broken the pus is running, 28+ of your highly trained LEO’s are involved because there was no certainly of punishment for rule and law violations committed during your reign, just cover-up for the “Golden Ones” all of your “Raiders”. Your spineless leadership created the “look the other way” syndrome. Is Daniel Roberts related?

    Chief Franklin Adderley a man who disgraced FLPD for some free faux beef bologna slices, cheap Cognac, the tender loins of harlots , free private air travel, tacit obstruction of justice (dui accident scene), allowed, encouraged and made exceptions for officers under his command to provide security/bodyguard services for an admitted criminal that Chief Franklin Adderley has/had a close friendship/relationship with and allowed those officers to keep “stolen monies”. This highly trained (graduated from FBI academy, DEA training) LEO must have been sleeping in class, Adderley admits he “Was Shocked” at the news of this Ponzi scam committed by his “friend” SWR “Didn’t see anything wrong while hob knobbing with his pal”

    Sgt.Steven Greenlaw put in place by name to disburse three hundred thousand plus dollars (that we know of) of “stolen monies” to LEO’s for their services, accepts free meals at high end restaurants, has a 401k retirement plan with SWR, and the list goes on and on. Greenlaw writes up an officer that he supervises for a missing signature on a ticket and the officer is fired, it is quite obvious there is a target on his back, this officer must not have fit in with the den of thieves. Was this done to take the heat off of Greenlaw et al ? What else is being covered up?

    Capt Rick Maglione IA the keeper of the Klan allows an officer under his direct command to provide his services to the SWR/Greenlaw detail, Where is the integrity? Were monies being given to IA to look the other way? Why is there no investigation taking place regarding all principles involved by IA in the SWR detail? Ricky, it is stolen money do your job. What are you covering up again?

    Can Fort Lauderdale Police Department be charged under “RICO”?

    It is apparent that this was a mistake not intentional. This officer must have been a threat to their criminal fiefdom.

  • Well Well the Rat has spoken… Very nicely put..

    Let me make this clear… I am not a lawyer nor a cop I am john Q Public…

    So let me make this clear… What Chief Adderley was doing was taking bribes of food and drink and gratuitous trips with a criminal! How much worse does it need to be to get IA to investigate Adderley and his corrupt cohorts of crooked men/women. This tells me IA is also in on this also if they won’t investigate the obvious. They sure did go hard on the Cop in this Story, now didn’t they. Now that sure makes it suspicious now doesn’t it. He was put on suspension and fired for allegations which were proven false?? Yet despite the fact he was cleared of all of the criminal allegations against him. FLPD IA went after him anyway– You have to be kidding me. Is it that easy to set up a cop you don’t like in FLPD. Yet the ones they liked are doing just fine.

    #1 This Cop should be reinstated with retroactive pay. If he doesn’t sue the department for 20 million that will be the amazing part.

    It appears to me that they have targeted him and hated him because he had a law degree. But now that I see all this Adderley and Greenlaw stuff it all makes sense. They didn’t want someone honest around who could possibly blow the whistle on them.

    Now I am waiting to see if the Feds do their jobs and arrest and convict Adderley and Greenlaw and their crooked crew. What I wonder about is if they sold their services to a con-artist attorney how many others have they been protecting who they should have been arresting. How many others have they set up? Lets see what is the difference in a criminal and a honest man is it them making money off them?? It seems to me they cared or care about money so much they are willing to sell justice out for the right price. They say every man/woman has a price is this how they see it too?

    As for me I think they should throw them all in prison and take back all the pay as well as illegal earning and confiscate their cars and homes and bank accounts like they would a drug dealer. The day they started breaking the law they were stealing their pay checks because a criminal can’t be a cop Or can they?? That question is yet to be answered and I think if they get away with this it will have been answered.

    Knowing how the Feds work, they must have loads of wire taps of them all talking. I would love to know how much they spoke about what they had planned to do to this officer. Seeing how bold they were and care free I bet they spoke on the phone openly about how they would all try to set this Cop up anyway they could. Of all the things to use this had to be the weakest. It was just a homeless person panhandling how small of an infraction. This is a no priority call and sure wasn’t a big deal either way. From what I read, I don’t see a crime or wrongdoing.

    How in the hell can mental midget, Howard Finklestein take issue with anything. He is an attorney– If I recall correctly, didn’t he get charged with DUI and narcotic possession a few years ago– (Which are both crimes) yet despite committing multiple crimes, they still let him pretend to practice law. Isn’t he the pot calling the kettle black in this case!!

  • Informed, or should I say former Officer Zavadil. I really don’t know if you got all the due process you were entitled to, but at least now you know how it feels to be on the other end of a cop with a gun and a badge who doesn’t give a crap about your rights. Your thump print defense is pretty weak. You didn’t get a signature and you were told to get it. You forged it and got caught. Even if your thumb print defense works, it still means you ignored your supervisor’s order to get the accused’s signature, not your forgery. I understand you have a bunch more IA files with examples of poor police work. I guess you are right and everyone else is wrong. Best of luck practicing law. I hear the SAO likes hiring ex-cops. All you have to do now is pass the polygraph. Good luck. Of and by the way, Zavadil, if you are “Informed” you should go back to law school. And say hi to your friend, Amazed.

  • “Really Informed” sounds like a know it all, crooked cop with a personal axe to grind. He is down right scary.

    He admits to not knowing what rights one is entitled to. He thinks law is “crap” and he admits to being “a cop with a gun and badge who doesn’t give a crap about your rights!” Yeah! That is all Ft. Lauderdale needs– more like him. Sounds like he is the one citizens should be afraid of. You should find out who he is and put him on the Brady List.

    The truely scary part is that it sounds like he still works there.

  • Citizen Reader and Informed are both really Zavadil. Zavadil – If you think I’m a cop based on my blog posting than you are paranoid and delusional. Also, you need to learn how to spell. Changing your handle on this blog doesn’t hide your identity. If you are going to change your handle, stop using the word truely or at least learn to spell it – it’s truly, with no “e”. You give yourself away with that spelling, just like you gave yourself away forging the homeless guy’s signature on that NTA. And by the way, I’m not a cop, never have been and don’t want to be. I don’t particularly like cops, especially ones that lie and cheat. The Florida Bar, as weak as they are, will eventually throw you out just like they threw out that Jack Thompson weirdo. It shouldn’t take you very long to screw up and get caught.

  • Hallo from Greece! I have found your site on yahoo. Useful content! Nancy D. Murphy x

  • Generally a Finkelstein fan. But about the Fla. Bar not policing itself, well, he’s just crazy wrong. If The Fink was really as aghast as he pretends to be over this guys behavior he could have filed a complaint with the Bar. The FB loves to get after people who intentionally misrepresent the facts, doctor documents, whatever. They live for it….and no big loss if they toss this fellow out. I’m guessing he is “informedz’ and the legal arguements made above are more than a little embarrassing.

  • What is really disheartening is our collective “police Departments” make more headlines than the so-called “bad guys” do. There are police Chief’s all over this country who in total havent had the bad press and public second guessing Adderley has had in his tenure as Chief. My stance is “if it walks like a duck” well you know..Something is rotten all the way up to the neck in this town..Adderley needs to go for no other reason than his entanglements with admitted bad guys. Police officers take their “Q’s” from their Chief’s, when the chief is inept and embroiled in speculative behavor, what do you expect from the officers? It permeates down to the average encounter with the public. This is a mindset we cant afford or trust.

  • Excellent article as usual, thank you for writing so much helpful content on a regular basis.

  • The Fort Lauderdale Police Department is a symptom of a Criminal Cabal running this county. When the leader is a liar, all his servants are wicked.

  • Pro 29:12 If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants [are] wicked.

  • What is the name of an officer list if the officer lies on a police report and sides with his old school buddy and lies on the police reprot and slanders the wife of his friend? If a officer is on a black list, the brady list, what is he/she called when she/he lies on a official police report?

  • The Fort Lauderdale Police Department are a bunch of crooks. They listen to lies. Liars will always listen to a Liar. These *#&^ing cops are harassing me. The is the second time that I have been interrogated on some theft issue that I have not idea about. Somebody has lied about seeing me enter a garage and steal something. That is called Bearing False witness! Rot in hell basturds. The Criminal cops have wasted 2 hours of my time trying to get me to confess to something I am not guilty of.

  • The pus? Here is pus that boils over in the of Fort Lauderdale Police Department :


    Rant begins…

    Sir, I am going to give a bit of information because it is time for it to change, the system has been corrupt for too long in Fort Lauderdale: the reason the police in Fort Lauderdale are corrupt is that the criminals have paid off the department, and this is not just the department but the entire system. All in office love money. They love money. So whom ever pays them the most is the most innocent in Fort Lauderdale, and I am sure all around the country. (Don’t feel bad, Babylon is everywhere. Better yet, let us call Fort Lauderdale Sodom, it fits the bill a hell of a lot better. Remember Lot and the homosexuals trying to sexually assault his guests. Re-read that Biblical account to recognize the true ID of Fort Lauderdale.

    Justice is perverted. The criminals are innocent and the Innocent are criminals. So when a criminal calls to report his theft, now the police have to find someone to blame it on.

    Yes sir yes sir, the police say, we will find the guilty party, but of course we will look everywhere except YOU, for you have made a donation to the PBA or some other crony association. For example: Les Steinger and Joel Steigner both criminals have the police department on their pay rolls. Joel Steigner is still defrauding innocent people out of money with fake investments like the “organic Pizza Scam”. Who knows what Joel is doing with his time now. He has to make money somehow and has no skills other then theft and he is too fat to work. Is the old thief still alive? I don’t even know. He went and bought pizza from a local pizza house and put on a plate and then told some Innocent investors that it was home made organic pizza and he needed a massive amount of money to get his “business” off the ground. (That’s great Joel, Keep up the good work, the Police department and officials in high Government need more donations and gifts). He stole a fortune from some people for a lie. Look it up. (Need more info, research it your self. No more free rides.)

    The police Department is crooked: if the police are paid off by Criminals like Joel and Les Steigner (Les don’t forget had fake doctors with the Mutual Benefits scam) how in the world can there be any justice. He who has the biggest gift wins? Steigner He bought a wonderful house on the end of Pelican Isle (3) I believe it is. He was so good at theft that his widow had to change her name to try and not be associated with her now dead husband’s criminal enterprise Look it up on the internet 3 Pelican Isle is no longer associated with Steigner but Stacy’s maiden name now. If you notice her vehicle still has the “police” car tag as did Les’s car while he was alive. They have paid off every Politician to look the other way( I have always suspected Mel Martinez unexpectedly stepped down from his post due to the Steinger brothers but I can’t prove it yet). The only people that benefited were him and his cronies; the name was a massive esoteric joke to the initiated. The shoeple believed they were benefitting. What a joke.

    So, in summary, when wicked people have the police department on their pay roll, the police have to find somebody upon which to pin crimes the only people left are innocent people. Black are a great target because most of them do have the money to play the game and stay out of jail. But anybody can become a target because the people who are supposed to be finding the guilty have been paid off by the guilty.

    So Fort Lauderdale Police Department, Go &$%@ your self. The complaint department is run by, wait for it: Pallen as in Palliative care. I.E. we will listen to your complaint but we won’t do anything. Kind of like Obama –care, otherwise know as Death care to the esoterically minded. Any shoeple think that anything is “free” are blind and stupid. End of Rant Have a nice day in Sodom. I am outta this town.

    To the Criminal Cabal in the White house all the way down to the local: There is only One God and it is not Allah, it is not Buddha, and it is not your wallet, it is Jesus Christ. Repent and do justice because when Jesus Christ shows up you will have to look at HIM a man that was sentenced to death illegally by the original criminal Cabal: The Jewish leaders. So he knows the truth. Every dollar you have taken to pervert truth and justice. –Blank de Blank.

    Post Script: All this information is publicly available with a little research.

    Post Post Script: prove me otherwise if you can…

  • Awaiting moderation: is this a Nazi controlled site? I am sick of this censorship. Post my writing or cease and desist.

  • And cops & cop groupies act surprised when one of them gets killed in the line of duty?
    Some would call a dead cop, Karma…..Others would call him/her a victim.

    Me…..I call it Karma, but that’s just me.

    Accordingly, for the reasons discussed above, we approve the Board’s Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, and Recommendation, and revoke Daniel Mark Zavadil’s admission to the Bar. The revocation will be effective thirty days from the filing of this opinion so that Zavadil can close out his practice and protect the interests of existing clients. If Zavadil notifies this Court in writing that he is no longer practicing and does not need the thirty days to protect existing clients, this Court will enter an order making the revocation effective immediately.

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